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Russian Opposition's Navalny Briefly Detained

  • RFE/RL

Policemen detain Russian opposition leader and anticorruption blogger Aleksei Navalny outside Moscow's election commission in Moscow on July 10.

Policemen detain Russian opposition leader and anticorruption blogger Aleksei Navalny outside Moscow's election commission in Moscow on July 10.

Opposition figure and Moscow mayoral candidate Aleksei Navalny has been detained by police and then released shortly afterward.

After leaving the Moscow City Election Commission office on July 10, where he registered to run for mayor, Navalny addressed his supporters.

"For 15 long years there haven't been elections in our city. We are changing that today," Navalny said.

"Finally, there's a candidate who represents you, who represents your family, who represents citizens. I want to represent you. I say thank you for putting your trust in me to represent you."

But police officers approached him and took him away to a nearby vehicle. Chanting "shame," "Navalny is our mayor," and "release him," a crowd of his supporters surrounded the bus.

The police apologized and released Navalny several minutes later. He credited the presence of his supporters outside the election commission for his quick release.

"Thus begins our spectacular election campaign," he told his cheering supporters.

"Thank you everyone! Thank you that you didn't disperse and didn't leave me alone in this. Because of you they let me go. Let's do it like this for everyone [who is detained.]. One for all!" he said.

And the crowd chanted back: "And all for one!"

Navalny was at the office to hand in his registration documents to run in the September mayoral election.

At least two of his supporters were detained for attempting to hold an "unsanctioned event." One of them was Nikolai Lyaskin, a member of Navalny's campaign team. Lyaskin was reportedly released later.

So far some 40 people, including incumbent Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, have announced their intention to run for mayor of the Russian capital.

July 10 is the last day the Moscow Election Commission is accepting registration documents.

With reporting by ITAR-TASS and Interfax
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